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Dr. Levi Skipper on Student Ministry

Student Ministry and the local church:                                                                                               Pastor Levi Skipper lectures at TMC

by Lucy Hedrick

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)--Levi Skipper, pastor of Concord Baptist Church, recently addressed Truett-McConnell College students regarding leadership in student ministry.

A guest lecturer in Dr. Daniel Moosbrugger's Student Ministry class, Skipper told students that student ministerial leadership is about "how your ministry call, personal faith and spiritual foundation shapes student ministry as a leader."

Skipper knows a thing or two about ministerial leadership. Since beginning his tenure at Concord in Nov. 2010, the church has experienced significant growth. A third Sunday worship service is planned for launch in 2013.

The church's college ministry is part of Concord's growth with an average attendance of 80. Students from both North Georgia College & State University and Truett-McConnell College attend the church just outside of Cleveland.

"Pastor Skipper has a unique way of communicating the gospel message to college students," Moosbrugger said. "His passion in reaching them is obvious and contagious.

"Dr. Skipper's motivation to reach others for the sake of the gospel and for training Christians is obvious as he lives out the church's motto, 'Making disciples everywhere,'" Moosbrugger said. "Pastor Levi epitomizes the results of what we are trying to accomplish in our students at Truett-McConnell."

The results to which Moosbrugger alluded Skipper fleshed-out through numerous talking points in his lecture regarding student ministry. Some of those points were:

- A minister can be the laziest person in the world or a genuine hard worker. Typically the choice is up to the minister.

- The minister must keep in mind God is his manager.

- Where there is no direction in ministry, the people complain and gripe. This can also be true when there is direction, but at least you are going somewhere.

- God equips the man of God to deliver His truth. The man does not equip the truth to deliver to people.

- Never sacrifice the Gospel to placate leadership.

- Don't be afraid to challenge students to do great things.

- Not everyone in the church likes you just because you are a minister.

- A clearly defined teaching schedule alleviates stress and keeps you from being seen as targeting people with your message.

- When in leadership, you are always disappointing someone.

- Spending time with great leaders helps sharpen your own personal leadership.

- Be the person God created you to be and no one else.

- My time with the Lord cannot be skipped and is not time for me to prepare to teach. This is the time when I am simply sitting with Christ in genuine relationship.

- Don't let questions about what you have always been taught scare you from investigating the facts.

- Not everyone who claims to be a believer is actually a follower of Jesus.

- Everyone is insecure.

- Knowledge can puff you up with theological pride. Practice what you learn.

- Don't be afraid to question status quo as a student leader. But don't change things just so they are different. Different is not always great.

Leadership that follows the above points has created an influx of Truett-McConnell students at Concord, and that, in turn, is one of several catalysts that help increase Concord's involvement with our college, Moosbrugger added. For example, a large group of members from the church helped Truett-McConnell's incoming freshman class move into their dorms last August.

On the home front, Skipper consistently works in conjunction with his entire staff to unify the church body and accomplish the purpose of the church, the pastor noted. The leadership and teaching of church staff spurs the church body into action. "Leading alone stalls growth. Leading leaders moves ministry to a new level," Skipper told the students.

Other keys to church leadership and growth include: caring relationships, creating empowerment, and continued accountability, noted Skipper, who strives to follow through with each of these components as he leads the congregation.

"Ministry is seldom easy and mostly messy," Skipper concluded. However, he both encouraged and challenged students, saying, "Never back down from living for, and talking about Jesus."

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Lucy Hedrick is a Truett-McConnell student and a freelance writer and photojournalist for the college.

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